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Dobson's Bar & Restaurant, San Diego, CA
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant, San Diego, CA
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant, San Diego, CA
Full () - Dobson's Bar & Restaurant, San Diego, CA
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant, San Diego, CA

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.6
4.6
1372 Reviews
$30 and under
Californian
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 40 years, this has been the hot spot for business lunches and frequented by many local and nationwide celebrities. Paul Dobson, the namesake for Dobson's bar and restaurant, is one of America's few professional Bullfighters. The food is California cuisine with a touch of Italian, French, Spanish and Asian cuisine. One thing that both local San Diegans and Zagat can agree on is that this is one of the top restaurants in San Diego. Due to the limited seating and popularity, reservations are highly recommended. Owner Paul Dobson "works a room better than Sinatra", which explains why this "local tradition" downtown remains, "after all these years", a "high-powered, hobnob spot"; the Cal kitchen "serves up delicious, innovative food, along with old standbys" ("have the mussel bisque and think of heaven").

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 15 times today
Experiences are available.

Order delivery or takeout

Private dining

Private dining

Book your next event with us

View details

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Elegant
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Californian, French, Seafood
  • Hours of operation
    Lunch Mon–Fri 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Mon–Sat 3:00 pm–9:00 pm Sat 4:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Phone number
    (619) 231-6771
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Business Casual
  • Executive chef
    Martin San Roman
  • Catering
    We offer catering for private events. Please call the restaurant to inquire about details.
  • Private party facilities
    Dobson's proudly introduces our new Private Dining Planning Department! Your ideas and our expertise will create just the right menu. You can even rent the whole restaurant for your private event!!! For more information please contact us directly.
  • Private party contact
    Marcos Luciano: (619) 231-6771
  • Neighborhood
    Downtown
  • Cross street
    Broadway
  • Parking details
    Street Parking
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Wine

Experiences

  • Filet & Lobster Mondays at Dobson's!

    $59.95 per person

    Multiple dates available
    Join us every Monday night 4 to 9 pm. 8 oz Filet Migñon and 4 oz Wild Lobster Tail Au Gratin Mashed Potatoes Fresh Vegetables Bordelaise Sauce Butter and the Choice of Dobsons Famous Mussel Bisque or Caesar Salad for only $ 59.95 plus tax
    Filet & Lobster Mondays at Dobson's! Photo

What 1,372 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.6
4.6 based on recent ratings
  • 4.5Food
  • 4.7Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.3Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • San Diego

    Californian

1,372 Reviews
  1. AnnaB

    Detroit

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Outstanding! We had the Chilean sea bass and the surf and turf along with escargot. The escargot was good but the entrees were amazing! And we were so impressed with the service. Glad we went

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  2. AmyB

    San Diego

    18 reviews

    5.0

    18 reviews

    Dined 5 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Love the tradition of going to Dobson's before the theater. The mussel bisque is amazing and brings back so many memories of meals here. Great service, delicious wine and fabulous salads. We really enjoyed our meal before heading over to the Balboa Theater. We'll be back ;-)

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  3. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on February 19, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Husband and I were going to the musical Chicago at SD Civic theater and wanted to have dinner beforehand so I remembered Dobson’s which was the best decision food was fantastic. We were in walking distance to the theater. We enjoyed our evening

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  4. Rick

    Palm Springs

    82 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    82 reviews

    Dined on February 19, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great service. Food always delicious. Pleasant staff!

    Is this helpful?

  5. Pmstein

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellence service, cozy and charming restaurant, delicious food and cocktails. It has a wonderful ambiance.

    Is this helpful?

  6. tomd

    San Antonio

    24 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    24 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent unique dining experience. A must try for foodies!!

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  7. JoelS

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    3.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 3
    Not as good since Paul retired. The food was mediocre at best. The service was okay but the Valentines dinner was disappointing. I will not return again.

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  8. JeremyJ

    Philadelphia

    376 reviews

    5.0

    376 reviews

    Dined on February 13, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Hotel recommended Dobsons resteraunt from the 3 options I picked from the Open Table app. It was excellent. Small and cozy. Great food and great service.

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  9. JohnW

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We’ve dined at Dobson’s for almost 40 years. This was our first visit since the pandemic and it felt like coming home. The food was amazing, service was incredibly attentive. I’m sure prices are higher than our last visit but not really noticeable. That said, they’ve started the 4% add-on that I see at more restaurants—not a fan. Just adjust your menu prices. We had a wonderful experience and we shall return.

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  10. Csquared

    San Diego

    85 reviews

    5.0

    85 reviews

    Dined on January 30, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We were downtown for some court business and had a fabulous lunch at Dobson’s. Super friendly service and excellent quality food and a nice place to change gears before returning to court. 

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  11. OpenTable Diner

    Tampa

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 30, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Loved it! Will go back for sure. The service was phenomenal and the ambiance made for a special experience.

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  12. Downtowndiner

    San Diego

    146 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    146 reviews

    Dined on January 28, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great dinner with friends! All starting with the mussel bisque…nothing better! We also enjoyed the pork chop, salmon and stroganoff beef tips. All tasty and beautifully presented.

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  13. KrisE

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent service and menu including sea bass filet pasta mussels salads. The bread is divine.

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  14. AGirlwholovesSteak

    San Diego

    23 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    23 reviews

    Dined on January 20, 2024

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    Disappointed pretty sure my $52 fillet was a top sirloin. And they shouldn’t put an anchovy on the bread crumb in the salad because it made it taste horrible! Disappointed.

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  15. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 20, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Lino is amazing. He is always so attentive even when it’s busy.

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  16. JanKop

    Kansas City

    190 reviews

    4.0

    190 reviews

    Dined on January 20, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 4
    The mussel bisque is worth the trip. Interesting atmosphere

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  17. OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 9, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Enjoyable. Old speakeasy. Small setting. Cool vibe. GREAT service.

    Is this helpful?

  18. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on January 9, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Mussel bisque is a must-try and bread service worth the up-charge (perfectly baked sourdough with crispy edges). This place is cozy and holds a lot of San Diego history. Lino, our server, was passionate as we was friendly. You don’t see that anymore and it’s so appreciated when you come across it. We love Dobson’s!

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  19. Intelqubed

    Washington DC

    154 reviews

    5.0

    154 reviews

    Dined on January 6, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Charming spot. Promptly greeted upon arrival and seated. Had been here before on a trip so wanted to return. Ordered the escargot, excellent. Also had the prime rib which was excellently prepared and extremely tender. Ordered the duck breast as well which I have to say was a bit disappointing from a flavor profile perspective. They did give us a chocolate cake for desert which was really seriously good. I would come back as they had other dishes I would be into such as mushroom ravioli or the rack of lamb.

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  20. Downtowndiner

    San Diego

    146 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    146 reviews

    Dined on January 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Always great experience! Enjoyed the mussel bisque (of course!), steamed mussels in an amazing curry broth, filet, salmon, and beef stroganoff. All tasty and beautifully presented. Attentive service.

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  21. TravelingFoodie

    New Orleans

    76 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    76 reviews

    Dined on January 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Me and my wife travel and eat out fine dinning often. Over all we were happy with this experience. The only recommendation I could make is that the menu is a little boring. They have nothing special on the menu. They need some signature dishes. The items to select from is the basic that most fine dining restaurants offer.

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  22. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 5
    We had a wonderful dinner! The food was excellent. While our waiter was good, he seemed inexperienced and under trained for a high end restaurant like this.

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  23. RandallJ

    San Diego

    20 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    20 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    It is hard to find perfection these days but Dobson comes as close as can be expected. From the greeting to the service to the ambiance it is a true evening out. The duck and the filet were superb plus. The crème brûlée was on do the best we’ve had and the bread…. Oh, the bread. Fresh baked and exactly the way bread should be. Most excellent indeed and very much worth the time and money. It is a great.

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  24. FrankP

    Hawaii

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent! We loved the mussel bisque and the filet mignon!

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  25. HarryM

    San Diego

    40 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    40 reviews

    Dined on December 29, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    We have visited Dobsons whenever we go to event at Balboa Theater or Civic Theater which is 5-6 times a year. As we are retired we use the San Diego restaurant card available from Costco. Evidently at Dobsons the policy had changed and only two cards can be used per table, we were four people thus only able to use two cards or less than 1/2 the meal. It was resolved but is disappointing, either publish policy so people can be aware or opt out of the program. It is significant aggravation when announced at the end of the meal!

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  26. LKE2HKE

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on December 29, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    The food and service were excellent. A bit noisy and crowded in the bar area, but you receive a warm welcome!

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  27. Karen

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on December 24, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    I hadn't been to Dobson's for several years and I was so pleased that its quality of food and service is still top notch. My husband and I had a wonderfully relaxed meal before we went to a Christmas concert at Balboa theater. The mushroom ravioli and the duck were both fantastic.

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  28. Delicous

    San Diego

    73 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    73 reviews

    Dined on December 17, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    Interesting but at the price range better options

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  29. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on December 16, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The live music was incredible. Great drinks and delicious food. I’m really looking forward to coming back!

    Is this helpful?

  30. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 16, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    It was such a great night! The food was amazing, service was perfect and music was spot on. Our group of six really loved the entire experience. Thank you!!!

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  31. StephanP

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 15, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We were celebrating our 31st anniversary. We've always heard that Dobson had excellent food, was a small restaurant and bar downtown. We were very pleased with every facet of our evening. The employees, the ambiance upstairs, the jazz musician, our waiter, Danny ( I believe)and the chef. The food was fabulous! We'll be back and will tell our friends about our wonderful experience.

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  32. GailB

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 5, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We had a lovely time- delicious surf and turf! So fun!

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  33. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 1, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    My group of 5 made reservations for 12:15 on a work day. We didn’t need reservations as there were plenty of tables available inside (up a short flight of stairs) or outside. The salmon was cooked perfectly and was flavorful. The fish and chips were good and came out hot. The French dip and turkey sandwich were also good. The ambiance for a lunch with friends is really great. Looks like a fantastic place for a drink at the bar. The service was really attentive, accommodating to our requests and very personable. If you want a place to walk and eat during a conference or stop at the Downtown buildings, go here. Quick in and out. Would definitely go back.

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  34. RandallJ

    San Diego

    20 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    20 reviews

    Dined on November 19, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Hands done one of the great hidden gems a in San Diego. Food is outstanding. Atmos is super and the service is off the charts fantastic.

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  35. OpenTable Diner

    Philadelphia

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 18, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    This place is a gem. Delicious food, excellent service, super fab overall. Will be back.

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  36. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 18, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great live music! Food was delicious! Very nice staff.

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  37. leucadiadiner

    San Diego

    10 reviews

    2.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on November 11, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 4
    Great ambiance of an old throw back bar & grill. Lots of history here, in a tiny but cozy place. Unfortunately the kitchen can't even do the basics right. Lamb chops were ordered medium-rare and came out extremely well-done. Steak frites with filet migon ordered med-rare as well and came out very well-done...not a trace of pink. We accepted the lamb chops not being cooked correctly but finally complained when the filet came over-cooked as well. The server promptly re-ordered the dish, kudos for that, but what we then got was steak tartare, not even cooked, and cold in the middle as well. The whole meal was a big disappointment because of the lack of basic cooking skills.

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  38. Cinderella

    San Diego

    25 reviews

    2.0

    25 reviews

    Dined on November 10, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 4
    Food just ok. Too much dressing. “Tempura” oysters oily, not tempura batter. Salad soggy. Steak without good sear. Visited for pre-theater dinner, Wont be revisiting. Much

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  39. Klc56

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on November 9, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The mushroom ravioli was delicious as was the shrimp pasta dish. The shrimp were large, and plentiful. The chocolate mouse cake was delicious. Great wine options. Perfect place to have dinner before or after the theater. Intimate old school charm, wood bar abd leather stools, cozy.

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  40. MarcW

    San Diego

    36 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    36 reviews

    Dined on November 9, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great spot to go before a show at the civic theater. High class. Great drinks. Great food!

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FAQs

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (619) 231-6771.

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant is rated 4.6 stars by 1372 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 15 times today
Experiences are available.

Order delivery or takeout

Google Map for Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

956 Broadway Circle, San Diego, CA 92101

Additional information

  • Cross street
    Broadway
  • Neighborhood
    Downtown
  • Hours of operation
    Lunch Mon–Fri 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Mon–Sat 3:00 pm–9:00 pm Sat 4:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Californian, French, Seafood
  • Dining style
    Casual Elegant
  • Dress code
    Business Casual
  • Parking details
    Street Parking
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Executive chef
    Martin San Roman
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Wine
  • Phone number
    (619) 231-6771
  • Catering
    We offer catering for private events. Please call the restaurant to inquire about details.
  • Private party facilities
    Dobson's proudly introduces our new Private Dining Planning Department! Your ideas and our expertise will create just the right menu. You can even rent the whole restaurant for your private event!!! For more information please contact us directly.
  • Private party contact
    Marcos Luciano: (619) 231-6771
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